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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-30-2017

Ogden Standard, March 30, 1917:

[A famous bat maker says Benny Kauff] “buys more bats—has them made to order too—than all the rest of the club put together. He doesn’t order just one bat or maybe two, as others do. He orders from one dozen to two dozen at a clip. And he goes right down the line, trying one at a time, until he gets a good stick. He then sticks to that one until he has a bad slump in hitting. Then he destroys the whole lot and buys a new set.”

Benny Kauff was a strange guy. Anyway, the article later reports that Kauff says he’s learned to wait for good balls to hit, then “bust ‘em”. Maybe he did, but both his walk and strikeout rates declined in 1917, so there’s not a ton of evidence he was going deeper into counts.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 30, 2017 at 10:53 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-29-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, March 29, 1917:

When the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox took the field at Red Elm Park, Memphis, yesterday, for the first road game of their spring championship series, the town folk of the Southern burg witnessed an innovation in baseball. Players of both teams wore on the sleeves of their uniforms identification numbers similar to those adopted by some of the leading universities for their bootball warriors.

Cool. I’m enjoying seeing the occasional reference to uniform numbers as they slowly get adopted.

No mentions in today’s papers of yesterday’s dugout story, Heinie Groh leaving Reds camp early and going home to Cincinnati. I guess it must not have been a big deal.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 29, 2017 at 10:33 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, uniforms

The Baseball-Bowling Connection!

Peas and carrots. Burt and Ernie. Beer and sportswriters. Baseball and bowling.

Baseball and bowling? Baseball and bowling!

———

[Mookie] Betts has competed in PBA-sanctioned bowling tournaments, making him the only two-sport star currently active on a major league roster. It might not be Bo Jackson tearing out of the backfield, but it’s not nothin’

———

When the Baseball Hall of Fame phoned Boudreau to tell him he’d been elected, his wife had to take the call—Lou was out bowling.

———

gehrig97 Posted: March 29, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: bowling, everett scott, general, history, hodges, mookie betts, red sox

As Baseball Considers Change, It Should Look to Its Past - The New York Times

It’s not clear that early baseball’s pioneers picked the right version of base ball. In his duties as official historian, Thorn has played in re-enactments of both the old New York game and the old Massachusetts game. “To be completely honest,” he said, a bit resignedly, “the Massachusetts game was a lot more fun.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 29, 2017 at 07:14 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-28-2017

Washington Times, March 28, 1917:

President August Herrmann, of the Cincinnati Nationals, was notified last night that Heinie Groh, infielder, had left the local club at Memphis, Tenn., last night, and was now on a train to Cincinnati. Groh is said to have left a note for Manager Mathewson in which he stated he was “homesick.”

A quote from Groh in the Pittsburgh Press, March 28, 1917:

“Any married man can understand. I was homesick, dead lonesome, and simply had to come home. I feel better already. I will join the team here Friday and keep in physical trim.

These days, it would probably trigger a massive kerfuffle including suspensions, character assassination, and perhaps a trade if a player noped out on Spring Training, left a note, and went home.

I don’t know what the Reds’ reaction was to Groh leaving - I guess we’ll find out together - but he didn’t get suspended or traded. Heinie went on to lead the league in games played, plate appearances, hits, doubles, and on-base percentage. His trip home seems to have worked out well for everyone.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2017 at 10:12 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, March 27, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2017

Tacoma Times, March 27, 1917:

[Seattle manager] Bill Leard waxed highly indignant the other day because of a remark by Harry Wolverton of the Seals, quoted in a local newspaper, the tenor of which was that organized baseball might just as well let down the bard to negroes if it is to permit Chinamen to play.

You tell ‘em, Bill! Of course players of all ethnicities should be allowed to play!

“Think of that!” fairly hissed the scrappy Leard. “Think of it. Ayau is an American-born, half-Chinese-half Hawaiian, has attended American schools and speaks English almost as well as I do. And Wolverton has on his San Francisco club Jacinto Calvo, a Cuban who butchers the American lingo.

Oh.

Well, I guess being right for the wrong reason is better than nothing.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: casual ethnic prejudice, dugout, history

Friday, March 24, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-24-2017

Topeka State Journal, March 24, 1917:

John Couch, a recruit pitcher with the Detroit Americans doesn’t have to worry about the price of potatoes or whether he makes good in the majors.

Couch and his five brothers own a cattle ranch of 16,000 acres in Montana and he is well fixed with the world’s goods. He has been playing ball in the summer and going to Leland Stanford university in the winter.

Couch was never a star in the big leagues, but he made 147 career appearances with a 91 ERA+. He won 16 games for the 1922 Reds.

I don’t know if or when Couch graduated from Stanford, but he pitched for San Francisco in 1915-1916 and 1919-1921. That could have been convenient for his classwork. If he lived in San Mateo or thereabouts, he’d have been 15 miles from San Francisco and 15 miles from Palo Alto.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 24, 2017 at 10:01 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 23, 1917:

Manager Robinson has a hard time getting his Brooklyn players to train enough. Yesterday he hit upon a new plan and gave them an “Irishman’s Ride.” What’s that? Well, he invited them all to take a motor ride into the country. Then he made them walk back.

This seems like something that would work once. Once.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 23, 2017 at 10:53 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-22-2017

Washington Herald, March 22, 1917:

Dispatches received [in Detroit yesterday] from the training camp of the Detroit Americans at Waxahachie, Texas, state that the Detroit ball players are in sympathy with a movement started by fellow athletes to abandon the military drills they now are receiving. It is understood that the Cleveland club already has taken such action.

Several Detroit players claim that the drills have caused severe strain upon muscles not brought into play on the baseball diamond and that the work has hindered more than it has helped their playing.

Truth be told, I’m surprised that it took this long for the players to express displeasure at mandatory military training.

Elsewhere on the same page, it still looks likely that the Yankees will relocate to Long Island City.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 22, 2017 at 10:17 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-21-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 21, 1917:

Manager Mathewson is a great believer in speeding up the play during the games. He allows no loafing, and is constantly urging the players to keep on the move. Nothing annoys him so much as a game that lasts over two hours.

If time travel were a thing, I’d pay to see what would happen if Christy Mathewson watched Steve Trachsel pitch to Mike Hargrove.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 21, 2017 at 10:24 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, pace of the game

Monday, March 20, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-20-2017

Pittsburgh Press, March 20, 1917:

“Aviation,” says Charlie Herzog, “has a remarkable fascination, once a fellow becomes interested in it. Several times this winter, after I had become interested in the art of flying, I decided to give it up, but in a few days I was back in the seat of the old hydroplane. It’s great stuff, and I have become quite enthusiastic about it.”

This is the first mention I’ve seen of a big league ballplayer being an aviator. I guess this means he wouldn’t have been in any sort of position to criticize players who drive cars.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 20, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: aviation, dugout, history

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Baseball Researcher: “How the Office Boy Saw the Ball Game”

This looks pretty interesting.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 19, 2017 at 08:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, movies

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Dawn of Athlete Endorsements

There is only one case of record where ball players received a large remuneration for acting as models for an advertisement. Those players were Capt. Ewing and ‘Old Man’ Anson. It was before the Brotherhood War, when Ewing was in the very zenith of his glory. A certain ale manufacturing concern wanted a taking ad. for its goods and decided that a base ball picture was the best thing. So when the Chicagos came to New York this firm arranged for Ewing and Anson to sit in front of a tent on which the ad of the company was emblazoned. Barrels and cases of the product were placed in close proximity and Ewing and Anson, in their uniforms and each with a glass of ale poised graceful in his hands, were in the foreground. The ad made a big hit and Ewing and Anson received $300 and a case of ale each. It was quick and easy for them.

In 2008 this baseball advertising piece sold at auction for $188,000. What will the Red Stockings Cigar poster bring?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 18, 2017 at 08:23 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Friday, March 17, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-17-2017

Former Browns scout Charley Barrett on the time he tried and failed to sign an amateur pitcher named Grover Alexander, quoted in the Bridgeport Evening Farmer, March 17, 1917:

“I stopped over in Beardstown to change trains and went to a hotel. Carrie Nation then was making a lecturing tour. She was at the hotel, but was to leave on another train. I set down my grip in the lobby, so did Carrie. She paid her bill, and making a great clatter grabbed a grip and hustled to the depot.
...
I got to the station and had occasion to open my grip. It was full of an old lady’s nightcaps, prohibition literature and certain other things I don’t know about, not being a married man. It was not my grip, though it was exactly like mine, except for the contents…[Nation sent my suitcase] back on the next train, with her blessing. But I had to wait. I missed my train.
...
The day I was to be in Galesburg Grover Alexander was hit in the head with a pitched ball and badly hurt. It looked like he was done for. I got there in time to learn that he even might die…I called off the deal that practically was closed and returned to St. Louis.

It took a Nation of one to hold the Browns back.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 17, 2017 at 10:31 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, grover cleveland alexander, history, scouts

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-16-2017

Tacoma Times, March 16, 1917:

Baseball…is in a fine fix today. Every major league baseball club the country contains is miles and miles from home—and the railroad men say they’re going to stop running trains.

Thus, thrown right up to them, there is the prospect of no trains home for the axe victims and no trains north for those who stick.

The railroad unions were fighting for an eight-hour work day, which was nominally enacted by the Adamson Act in late 1916. The railroad companies challenged its constitutionality in Wilson v. New and it wound up before the Supreme Court.

Coincidentally (or not), the railroads agreed to the provisions of the Adamson Act on the same day SCOTUS ruled it constitutional. That averted a strike and prevented any major problems for baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 16, 2017 at 10:25 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-15-2017

Seattle Star, March 15, 1917:

Joe Wood, the Indians’ $15,000 gamble, won’t be in shape to pitch when the season opens. He admits his costly arm has developed a kink—a sort of “grating in the shoulder.” Doctors are working on Joe.

The Cleveland Indians ought to burn up the American league. They’ve just bought $15,000 worth of wood.

As you know by now if you’ve been following the Dugout, Joe Wood’s arm was completely and irredeemably scragged at this point. He turned into a pretty good outfielder, but wasn’t worth all the money the Indians threw at him.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 15, 2017 at 10:16 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, smoky joe wood

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-14-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, March 14, 1917:

GEORGE M. COHAN AFTER BALL TEAM

The Providence International League baseball club was sold this afternoon by William H. Draper, its owner, to a syndicate of local men for $18,000.
...
Dennis O’Brien, George M. Cohen’s [sic] attorney, was present and said that Mr. Cohen intended buying the entire holdings. It may be possible that the New York theatrical man may yet get control, taking it out of the hands of the local men who bought it just for civic pride.

As far as I can tell, the Yankee Doodle Boy never did buy his hometown ballclub. Cohan was a huge baseball fan and a personal friend of Connie Mack who, according to his New York Times obituary, almost always went to see the Giants play when there was a home game. As theatre guys go, it’s safe to assume he’d have been a better owner than Harry Frazee.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 14, 2017 at 10:45 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, March 13, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-13-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, March 13, 1917:

It was learned [in Pittsburgh] yesterday that there is little likelihood of Honus Wagner ever again playing professional baseball. Wagner’s business and legal representative is authority for the statement that the famous Dutchman has about concluded arrangements to enter the oil producing business with Fred Clarke, former manager of the Pirates, regardless of what the Pittsburgh club offers him in the way of salary for the coming season.

Honus played on in 1917, but at 43 years old he was no longer Honus Wagner. Wagner hit .265/.337/.304 as the closest thing Pittsburgh had to a starting first baseman, then retired at the end of the 1917 season.

If he indeed went into the oil business, there’s no mention of it in his SABR bio.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 13, 2017 at 10:18 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, honus wagner

Friday, March 10, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-10-2017

Chicago Eagle, March 10, 1917:

Did you ever hear about one pinch-hiter who retired two pitchers with one swing of his mace?

His name is Tom Clark, the Rhinelander backstop. On June 13, 1916, the Reds and Braves battled to a 16-inning scoreless tie. Toney started the game for the Cincinnatians and Rudolph did likewise for the Bostonians. But neither finished it, because Clark finished both of them in the twelfth.
...
Cholly Herzog, then piloting the Red skiff, decided to send Clark to back in place of Toney…Rudolph served up a twister to Clark and the catcher at once whaled it right back to Rudolph. The drive hit the bald-headed flinger on his operating fin—and he went away in search of a doctor.

Two birds with one line drive.

Elsewhere on the same page of the newspaper, dugout legend Tubby Spencer tells the story of the time Red Sox owner J.I. Taylor gave pitcher Frank Arellanes $500 to delay the player’s wedding. This was particularly easy for Arellanes, as he had no plans to get married.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 10, 2017 at 11:01 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Easiest Question in Baseball History Might Have a New Answer

So there’s a game baseball fans like to play (and by “fans” we also include anybody, anywhere, who has ever written any words, at any time, about the sport). The game is to rank the best player who ever lived at every position…

———

The best first baseman of all time is Gehrig. Always has been.

But here’s a thought: What if… he’s not?

What if the easiest question in the history of baseball is about to get a different answer?

What if Albert Pujols – not Lou Gehrig – is the best first baseman to ever man the bag?

gehrig97 Posted: March 10, 2017 at 09:54 AM | 219 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, first basemen, gehrig, history, pujols, yankees

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-9-2017

Washington Times, March 9, 1917:

Manager Griffith today ordered carboys of spring water placed in the rooms occupied by his players, and spring water will also be served at the dining tables.

The Old Fox is most serious over conditions of the [Augusta, Georgia] water supply. “I had no idea the water here was so bad,” said he today. “I am not going to have any of my players made sick drinking this dark brown stuff, and so have ordered spring water for all of them.

And ever since the day Clark Griffith ordered that spring water, it’s been known as spring training.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 09, 2017 at 10:09 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-8-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, March 8, 1917:

Japanese baseballs or baseballs made in any other country no longer will be able to masquerade in America as American productions.

The Secretary of the Treasury, who has ample power in the matter, has issued an order requiring that hereafter all imported baseballs be indelibly stamped with the name of the country of their origin, such identification marks when placed on cartons being considered insufficient.

This was all part of the Pink Hawley-Homer Smoot tariff plan.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 08, 2017 at 10:15 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-7-2017

Washington Times, March 7, 1917:

The death knell has been sounded for “mashed potatoes” in the camp of the Griffmen.

In its stead has come old kid “Ham And.”

For five years the Griffmen training at Charlottesville were filled with mashed potatoes, morning, noon and night. They lived with King “Mashed Potatoes” day in and day dut [sic]. They went to bed with him. They dreamed of him, knowing that they would meet him in the morning.

But now has come old “Ham And.”

This means something. This is important.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 07, 2017 at 10:24 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, March 06, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-6-2017

A brutally honest season preview in the Seattle Star, March 6, 1917:

Fifth or sixth place seems to be the best the Reds can hope for. There is no silly pennant talk being stirred up here, as the team doesn’t look as good as the one Buck Herzog took South last spring.

Coincidentally, fifth or sixth place seems to be the best the Reds can hope for in 2017.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 06, 2017 at 10:30 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, March 03, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-3-2017

Fairmont West Virginian, March 3, 1917:

When [Indians owner Jim] Dunn announced that he had paid $15,000 for Joe Wood the baseball world gasped, because it was the greatest gamble that had ever been made in the game. With Wood’s first year’s salary the gamble amounts to $20,000.
...
And Dunn, or his manager, Lee Fohl, or Joe Wood himself can’t tell whether Joe Wood will be the “Smoky Joe” of old, or even whether his pitching arm which went back on him two seasons ago will be able to stand the gaff this season.

The good news is that Wood won a World Series ring with the Indians in 1920. The bad news is that Dunn didn’t get the ace pitcher he was looking for.

Wood’s arm was shot and wasn’t coming back. Smoky Joe became a right fielder for good in 1918, hitting .298/.376/.433 after making the move.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 03, 2017 at 10:14 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, smoky joe wood

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